iPaaS Definition

iPaaS stands for “Integration Platform as a Service”. This is software technology hosted on the Cloud that helps integrate applications together. We typically meet today two types of integration patterns:

  • “Cloud to Cloud”, for example “integrate Salesforce with Gmail’
  • “Cloud to Ground”, for example “integrate Salesforce with internal applications”

According to Gartner, the iPaaS market is roughly $250M in 2014 growing to $736M by the end of 2018. This is consistent with Ovum, who estimates it is growing 40% a year to $940M (in subscription revenues) by the end of 2019. This is eating into the traditional application integration spend and claiming a large share of the more than $2B spend on integration software.

Leading iPaas solutions are well packaged solutions that empower tech-savvy business users to integrate their different applications in an easy way.

Common features of an iPaaS solution are:

  • Bridge protocols and formats between the apps to connect. For example, “http to https”, “XML to Json”.
  • Mapping data fields. Ex: the “name” field of App1 needs to be mapped to the “title” field of App2. Mapping can also require more complex rules such as concatenating fields, replacing string patterns …
  • Data quality rules can be implemented to ensure quality is preserved between apps.
  • Routing rules help define where to route requests coming from one app. These rules can be based on query parameters, body content …
  • Sometimes a simple request cannot just be sent to one single route, a more complex orchestration mechanism needs to be triggered, such as multiple application calls and information mashup.
  • Adapters help integrate with other applications more easily. For example, a Salesforce adapter, a Twitter adapter, a Facebook adapter …
  • For less notorious adapters, a developer toolkit will help developers create new adapters.
  • There are also scenarios where adapters are not enough and there is a need for more complex integration. In this case, integration templates help increase productivity and reduce risk of error.
  • For scenarios where there is a need to orchestrate multiple apps, an integration flow development toolkit is a required. Similarly to the adapters, prepackaged integration flow also help increase productivity.
  • Visibility is key and an advanced interface is required to monitor traffic, be alerted of possible failures or exceptions and further troubleshooting.
  • Last but not least, iPaaS solutions don’t limit to existing application integration; they need to be able to expose APIs to different channels outside the company: partner applications, mobile apps, social apps. In this case, an API Management layer is very useful to expose the right APIs and present them in a governed way to external developers willing to consume them.

Primarily, iPaaS is a software technology provided as cloud service. But the increasing need for companies to get such technology internally (on-premises) drive more and more iPaaS providers to propose a complementary on-premise offer of their solution.

The value of iPaas for the SMB market is clear. But in which project is iPaas used in large companies ?

  • Technical teams in LoB and subsidiaries can find it very useful to integrate projects easily – such as a mobile app or an external cloud service – without depending on central IT.
  • From an enterprise-wide perspective, iPaaS can help CIOs implement a bi-modal strategy and address a “mobile-first” or “cloud-first” approach while preserving their legacy infrastructure. It is indeed to smart decision not to change existing on-premises IT assets and to tackle mobile, cloud integration and IoT projects with a solution that is directly available on the Cloud.

The iPaaS market is evolving very quickly with many software vendors who want to take advantage of the market opportunity. The increasing number of mobile application integration projects and cloud service integration projects and the adoption of iPaaS solution by SMBs will make the market grow big – almost $1B in subscription revenues by 2020. We will see the rise – and decline – of many new players. According to Gartner, by 2018, the iPaaS market will further fragment with no vendor exceeding 15% of the global iPaaS customer base.

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